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E.S.T. Live In Hamburg

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Album Review

In a word: wow. Since their 1993 debut album, the Esbjörn Svensson Trio, or E.S.T., as it is usually called, have taken the jazz world by storm, winning numerous awards, playing sold-out world tours, topping the charts, and generally enjoying a popularity that's exceeded that of almost any other jazz group in years. The trio was also the first European jazz group to grace the cover of Down Beat magazine, which led to long discussions about the heritage of jazz and the validity of European jazz; and, naturally, it caused some listeners to perceive an artificial hype and discredit the band for simply not being as brilliant as everyone says they are. Well, do yourself a favor and do not listen to the detractors — listen to E.S.T.'s music instead, and this two-hour concert recorded on November 22, 2006 in Hamburg, Germany, is an excellent place to start, since it shows the superb musicianship of pianist Esbjörn Svensson, bassist Dan Berglund, and drummer Magnus Öström minus any studio trickery; it shows their exquisite communication with each other, their daring improvisations, their effortless flow — and most of all, it shows their unique brand of music, where a jazz trio can easily incorporate heavy metal distortion during a song ("Definition of a Dog"), then play a sparse, lovely ballad ("The Goldhearter Miner"), and where funk, classical, and avant-garde music elements are incorporated into a sound that never feels academic or difficult to listen to. The band plays everything with the energy of a rock group (Jim Rakete's liner photography even makes them look like one), and the music is often edgy, but the hypnotic repetitions and the building intensity of many tracks often have an almost trance-like quality. The question whether E.S.T. play jazz or pop or rock is completely beside the point: yes, this is jazz, as jazz has always evolved and incorporated new ideas (and almost all of the important developments in jazz have been derided by critics as not being "true jazz" in their time). Yes, this is pop, as it's accessible and, well, popular. And yes, this is rock, with its energy and recklessness. But essentially, it's just unique and exciting music.

Customer Reviews

This Is the One to Own!

I owned several other EST albums before coming to this one. They were always a bit of a mixed-bag for me. Some songs I really liked but a number of forgettable ones were there as well. However, I was intrigued enough to spend the $15 on Live in Hamburg. There's nothing on this that I don't fully enjoy. The songs are longer than the studio versions but manage to to stay interesting without over indulgence. The reason some clock in so long is the applause of the enthusiastic crowd is left in so you feel like your at the show.

One of the modern greats…

An album with incredible depth. One of my new favorite albums..Evokes Live at Köln by Jarrett. This is a modern classic.

problems downloading

one star for itunes not the album....the music is amazing...tried to download this once and only 1 song downloaded, although I was charged for the whole album...itunes refunded my money, later I tried to download the album again figuring itunes would have fixed the problem and same thing happened again...come on itunes! great album but buyer beware...


Born: April 16, 1964 in Västerås, Sweden

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '80s, '90s, '00s

Pianist and composer Esbjörn Svensson looms among the most influential and innovative figures in contemporary jazz, drawing on inspirations spanning from Baroque to techno to create a body of work that earned both commercial and critical approval. Svensson was born in Västeras, Sweden, on April 16, 1964 — his mother was a classical pianist and his father a die-hard jazz buff, but in spite of his classical training he first gravitated toward pop, playing in a series of amateur rock & roll...
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E.S.T. Live In Hamburg, Esbjörn Svensson Trio
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